Well, that episode certainly threw in a few curveballs.


The latest instalment of Peaky Blinders continued on from the tragic loss of Ruby Shelby, seemingly at the hands of a curse connected to a certain sapphire.

As the Shelby family mourned their loss in this new episode, however, Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) was confronted with two key revelations for himself and his family.

Meanwhile, Tommy also executed a plan involving the scheming Gina Gray (Anya Taylor-Joy) that may prove to be too ambitious.

Elsewhere, meetings were held with enemies and business partners in the form of Sir Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), Lady Diana Mitford (Amber Anderson), Jack Nelson (James Frecheville), and Captain Swing/Laura McKee (Charlene McKenna).

One person who emerges as a last-minute unexpected major player, however, is a new character, Duke.

So, what is his backstory and who plays the new character?

*Spoiler warning for Peaky Blinders season 6 episode 4**

Who is Duke Shelby in Peaky Blinders?

Duke Shelby is the illegitimate son of Tommy Shelby and his eldest biological child.

Tommy was unaware of his existence until the fourth episode of the sixth season, titled ’Sapphire’.

After grieving the loss of his daughter Ruby Shelby, Tommy accompanied by his widowed sister-in-law Esme Shelby-Lee (Aimee-Ffion Edwards).

She revealed that he had a son as a result of a sexual liaison under a hazel tree in May 1914 before he headed to France.

Esme took Tommy to him, the "boy with hazel eyes".

He is described as a "thief" who works on a fairground but wants "more to life than big wheels and carousels".

Offering to mend a hole in Tommy’s heart with the loss of Ruby and with the price of more gold, Esme offers to send the boy to Tommy with the promise of “far more than big wheels and carousels”.

We don’t see Tommy’s decision but we haven’t seen the last of Duke Shelby.

Who is the mother of Duke Shelby in Peaky Blinders?

Cillian Murphy and Aimee-Ffion Edwards sat in a car in Peaky Blinders
Esme Shelby-Lee (Aimee-Ffion Edwards, right) showed Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) his son from afar BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd/Robert Viglasky

The mother of Duke Shelby is a woman named Zelda.

After having a sexual encounter with Tommy before the Great War in 1914, Zelda became pregnant.

Zelda’s father threatened to kill Tommy but he had already left the country to fight in the Great War.

After conceiving Duke under a hazel tree, her hazel-eyed son was born.

Esme reveals that Zelda is now dead and Duke is ostensibly living as an orphan with big ambitions.

Who plays Duke Shelby in Peaky Blinders?

Conrad Khan at the BFI London Film Festival
Conrad Khan portrays Duke Shelby in Peaky Blinders season 6 Getty

Duke Shelby is portrayed by actor Conrad Khan.

The young actor is best known for his roles in crime drama Baptiste, as a younger version of Chris Hemsworth’s character in The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and as the lead character Tyler in the hard-hitting British drama County Lines.

In 2021, Khan was nominated for the EE Rising Star Award at the BAFTA Film Awards.

Discussing joining the Peaky Blinders cast with RadioTimes.com last year, Conrad Khan said: "Yeah I finished that a few months ago now.

"That was super enjoyable. It's quite different to [Baptiste] in a sense that it's more action-based rather than psychological drama, but that was such an amazing experience.

"I met a lot of highly esteemed actors. It feels like a different world now because I've just been at home, working on my uni stuff and reading, so it does feel like a different world."

How many children does Tommy Shelby have?

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders
Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) was devastated to lose his daughter Ruby in season 6 BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd/Robert Viglasky

Tommy has had three children over the course of the show.

Despite being ignorant of his ignorance until the final season, Tommy’s eldest child is son Duke from a sexual liaison with Zelda.

Tommy’s second child is Charles "Charlie" Shelby who is his son by first wife Grace (Annabelle Wallis).

Finally, Tommy’s third child was his daughter Ruby Shelby by second wife Elizabeth “Lizzie” Stark (Natasha O’Keeffe).

However, Ruby died from consumption after having been cursed by Evadne Barwell in revenge for Barwell’s daughter Connie dying in a similar fashion after wearing a cursed sapphire necklace.

In the fourth episode of the sixth season, Tommy takes revenge by murdering Evadne at her camp.

What will happen in Peaky Blinders season 6 episode 5?

Peaky Blinders artwork depicting Tommy Shelby
What lies in store for Tommy Shelby in the final two episodes? BBC/Artwork by Ben Wachenje

Peaky Blinders season 6 episode 5 is ominously titled 'The Road to Hell'.

After Tommy’s frightening health diagnosis in the fourth episode and the revelation of Duke’s existence, it seems big changes are on the way.

Additionally, the games between the Shelbys and their enemies look set to continue.

The official synopsis for the penultimate episode reads: "In the light of extraordinary personal revelations, Tommy takes a course of action that will change everything.

"Meanwhile, his enemies’ plans start to fall into place."

Peaky Blinders airs on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm and is available to catch up on iPlayer now. Check out our Drama hub for more news, interviews and features or find something to watch with our TV guide.


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